Russian Splendour

At Monash

Details

With major event restrictions still to be lifted to a point where we can perform for you in the concert hall, we regret that this MSO performance will not proceed.

We are committed to ensuring the longevity and sustainability of the MSO, and we thank you for your patience, understanding and support during this time. We will, however, keep the music going! We invite all music-lovers to enjoy free online concerts via our YouTube channel.

If you hold a ticket to this performance, instead of requesting a refund, we ask you to consider donating the value of your ticket to enable us to live stream more free events and continue the mission of the MSO, to enrich lives through music. Please email our Box Office prior to the performance date at boxoffice@mso.com.au if you would prefer to do this and we thank you in advance if you choose to donate during this uncertain period. MSO gift cards (valid for 3 years) and fee-free exchanges are also available.

Refunds will automatically be processed to the credit card used to make the purchase on the scheduled concert date. Please note, refunds may take 10 business days to arrive in your account.

Further information can be found on the Cancelled and Rescheduled Concerts page


Program

Prokofiev Piano Concerto No.3
Shostakovich Symphony No.5

Featuring

Benjamin Northey conductor
Stefan Cassomenos piano

About the performance

Music under the machine of war.

One of the most hotly debated and discussed pieces of the 20th century, Shostakovich’s Symphony No.5 was written at the height of Stalin’s influence across the Soviet Union, after the composer himself felt the personal sting of the dictator’s regime.

Two towering talents of Russian repertoire, Shostakovich and Prokofiev come alive in this thrilling demonstration of their brilliance at Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash.

Early in 1936, Dmitri Shostakovich attended a performance of his opera, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, to find Joseph Stalin in attendance. Though it had been a critically lauded work, the General Secretary left before the opera’s end. The reputation of the piece and of the composer quickly began to fall a part. Friends deserted him and his music was denounced. Shostakovich’s compositional style was deemed too modern to be considered appropriately communist.

He did write a Symphony No.4, but Shostakovich withdrew it shortly before its intended premiere. Almost a year would pass before his Fifth Symphony would be performed, a work which carried with it the tagline given by a journalist, “a Soviet artist’s response to just criticism”. This piece was a political and public success, and has provided challenging interpretative perspectives for listeners ever since.

The pragmatic Sergei Prokofiev covered a wide musical breadth, having written the film score of Eisenstein’s Alexander Nevsky; the beloved orchestral work for children, Peter and the Wolf; and the ballet Romeo and Juliet. He was not one to let ideas go to waste, and his Piano Concerto No. 3 is an example of this attitude. Compiled from pieces originally intended for other works, his Third Piano Concerto took shape in Leningrad (St Petersburg), was completed in France and premiered in Chicago, in 1921. The American public didn’t love the piece, but it would go on to become one of the most popular piano concertos of the entire 20th century.

Led by Principal Conductor in Residence Benjamin Northey and featuring acclaimed Australian pianist Stefan Cassomenos, this Town Hall performance promises an evening of Russian orchestral mastery.

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